TURNING THE TABLE: JEFF SIMPSON
A LOOK AT AMAZING WORK BY OUR PHOTOGRAPHY & ILLUSTRATION AWARDS JUDGES
May 5, 2022
Jeff Simpson is the Creative Director at the Halifax-based agency Trampoline, and, he likes things. In his office, you'll find an array of designer toys, art, mini dumpster fires, 20lbs books, and even a toy leg—all serving to fuel his creativity. His 15-plus-year career has found him working with brands such as Unilever, McDonald's, Diageo, Mars Inc., Red Cross, UNICEF, and many others. His work has been featured and awarded worldwide, but he's most proud that his two young girls think what he does is cool. Yeah, his kids are his favourite things of all—though the books and art don't complain about tiny bumps in their sock at 6AM.
We definitely didn’t complain when Jeff agreed to be a part of our 2022 Photography & Illustration jury. It was a pleasure having him judge our awards, and it was wonderful getting to know him and his work better in the following q&a. The project he picked is a wonderful example of how creativity can give back to community.
Can you give us a brief overview of the project?
An empty plate is a potent symbol of the food insecurity thousands of Nova Scotians experience every year. In 2020, COVID-19 and the restrictions that accompanied it created new challenges for the many who help provide food for those in need.
When we developed Feed Nova Scotia’s 2021 Report to the Community, we engaged a local artist to fill plates with messages celebrating the strength and resilience of everyone who worked so hard that year tackling food insecurity and keeping plates from staying empty. As an extension of the printed report, we produced sets of actual plates for the client to give to key donors.
What were some unique features of the campaign?
Well, I think Covid has made any campaign work challenging the last couple years for agencies and clients. Especially for not-for-profits like Feed NS who were stretched thin with growing demands for their support. They needed an annual report but we saw an opportunity to deliver something bigger and more impactful.
What were the success stats or indicators?
Food insecurity is a heavy subject, and the client and stakeholders felt really good about how we were able to go deeper than other years in exploring the causes of food insecurity in the report, while celebrating the kindness and generosity of a community that makes our work possible. The fresh take on the report helped increase the awareness that Feed NS does much more than fill empty plates.
Can you give us some "peeks" behind-the-scenes?
Designing and printing the annual report was the easy part. Trying to find suppliers for the plate and then someone who could print on them was a bit more challenging, especially when you have little to no budget. It’s the type of work that production managers say “You sold what to the client?” “How the hell are we going to do that?” But where there is a will, there is a way. We found a great partner in Ontario who handled it all for us.
Why is this particular project a fave?
Feed NS does amazing work in the province tackling food insecurity getting food on the tables of those who needed it, and advocating for policy addressing the root causes of food insecurity—low wages, systemic racism, unaffordable housing, and much more. At Trampoline we have a guiding motto “Be a force of positive change in Nova Scotia” which we truly stand behind and live up so when we got asked to help them design their annual report it was a no-brainer. The client was very supportive to us pushing the envelope in the creative process and doing something bigger than a simple report. In advertising we sometimes joke that we aren’t saving lives, we just making ads but projects like this are reminders that we truly can make a difference with creativity.
Can you give us your opinion on what you think made this project a success?
Helping your local community is always a good feeling. And during the pandemic it almost became mandatory for me, so knowing that the plates helped encourage more support for Feed NS and that they helped volunteers feel heard and proud of their hard work is all the success one could ever ask for.